There is speculation that the General Election will be called in July.
The country is just emerging from an unprecedented two-month lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The government is still trying to figure out how to handle this period.
As Mr Chan Chun Sing has admitted, the Elections Department cannot even come up with rules governing the GE (and we are already in June) because it has to “work under the challenging constraint that there are many scenarios.” He added that given the “evolving situation”, rules set presently may become invalid by the time the GE is held.
Such is the uncertainty that calling for a GE in July while the pandemic and its aftermath is still evolving would needlessly jeopardise the safety and health of Singaporeans.
As such, the SDP cautions against rushing to hold elections during this tentative period. Ministers and government agencies need to focus all their attention and resources to ensure that another breakout of the virus does not occur as it did in some other countries.
As the SDP had cautioned in March against the PAP’s opportunistic rush to hold a GE whereby ministers started their election campaigns taking their eyes off the ball and causing a massive surge in infections, we again warn against the government making a similar mistake.
We had said then that there will be a time to hold elections when the virus is under better control. We also mentioned that with the entire world taking meaningful steps to overcome the pandemic, the viral spread would be curtailed. Such an outcome would probably happen in the later part of this year. Our forecast is materialising.
As the GE does not need to be held until April 2021, there is no need for it to be squeezed in July 2020. It can still be comfortably held in the last quarter of this year.
This is, of course, assuming that the PAP prioritises the safety and public health of Singaporeans over its own narrow political interests.
The PAP committed a grave error in March when it ignored the SDP’s warning against preparing for an election which led to tens of thousands of infections and a lockdown which has caused enormous damage to our economy including business closures and job losses.
The SDP again calls on the PAP to focus on getting the reopening of the economy right before recklessly calling the GE in July.